WASHINGTON — Vice President George Bush said Sunday that he made mistakes in the Iran-Contra affair but that in retrospect his lack of knowledge prevented him from stopping the arms-for-hostages deal.
President Reagan has also conceded that he made mistakes in the affair, in which proceeds from U.S. arms sales to Iran were diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras.
"If I'd had a lot more knowledge of what was going on, I would have said: 'Don't do this.' Or if I'd have been sharp enough to see into the future, that a program that started out as not having arms for hostages turned into that, I'd have said: 'Don't do that,' " Bush, a 1988 Republican presidential candidate, said on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press."
"If I'd have been a little more . . . perceptive about the future, I would have said: 'Let's convene the National Security Council to be sure that everybody who has a different opinion is heard, so the President can benefit by the advice of everybody,' " the vice president said.
'Everyone Admits That'
"I didn't do that. But now we're moving forward. Mistakes were made, and everyone admits that. And so, I don't see much use in dwelling on what I told the President or not, because I am not going to now do that which I've been unwilling to do for seven years," he said.
Meanwhile, the vice president, who has amassed more funds for his presidential campaign than any of his rivals, is asking New Hampshire Republicans for a dollar each to pay for his primary filing fee, a campaign official in Concord, N.H., said Sunday.
In letters sent to 100,000 registered Republicans, Bush asks voters to help pay the $1,000 filing fee required for placement on the ballot of the nation's first primary election.
Bush is scheduled to make a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Thursday and Friday, and he is expected to register for the Feb. 16 primary at the Statehouse on Friday, the final day of registration.
Avoiding Use of Bankroll
A spokesman for the Bush campaign said the fund-raiser is an attempt to pay the candidate's filing fee without tapping the $12.7 million Bush has raised in the last year.
In his fund-raising letter, Bush said Republicans who responded to the plea for a dollar would be invited to attend a reception at a Concord restaurant and to accompany him on his subsequent walk to the Statehouse to sign up for the primary.